“Training is life.”
“You gotta love the grind.”
“24/7, 365 hustle.”
I’ve been guilty of chasing numbers in the gym to the point of actually suffocating the good things in my life. It’s one thing if you’re a professional athlete and sport and training put food on the table. It’s another thing entirely if you’re pursuing personal growth, change, or a worthy goal that doesn’t make or break your career or your life.
Competing in a regional powerlifting meet is an absolutely worthwhile goal that you should be spending your time and energy in the gym pursuing. But killing yourself in the gym every day for two hours is a colossal waste of time and energy for most people just seeking a little personal growth or a change in their appearance.
Balance Your Time and Energy
The amount of time and energy you spend in the gym needs to correlate with the scale of the goal. If your goal is to win the Crossfit Games, then you should be spending 18-24 hours a week training towards that goal.
If your goal is to lose 5lbs or achieve a particular level of leanness, then you should be spending 4-5 hours a week in the gym at most. You should spend the rest of your time and energy recovering and, more importantly, focused on the much more important aspect of your goal: nutrition.
To put it simply, if you want to be the best, you have to put the time in. There are no shortcuts to transcendent performance. If the competition is putting in 20 hours a week, then realize that 20 hours a week is the minimum.
Chances are you’re not the outlier. But the point here is not to speak to that crowd. This is for the person just looking to be a little bit better than they were before—a little stronger, a little more athletic, a little fitter, to feel a little bit better about themselves.
That doesn’t take a lot of time in the gym. It takes much more effort outside of the gym because there are some things you’ll have to change in your life to help you achieve what you want.
Surround Yourself with What Makes You Better
Surround yourself with like-minded, good people. If you find that you have a problem drinking too much on the weekends for example, then maybe start hanging out with a new and different crowd. Be self-aware enough to realize that the people you happen to have around you might not have your best interest in mind.
At the same time, find some balance in your life and remember to have fun. Make a schedule and create a routine that includes periods of discipline that allow you to partake in the good things in life.
Have a beer. Go out for drinks. See a show. Eat good food. Take a vacation without worrying about which gym you’ll be able to drop into. But realize that you have to earn all of that with balance in your life. That takes time and it takes effort. No one achieves much of anything by accident.